Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Damien Duff has questioned the FAI’s decision to replace Mick McCarthy after Euro 2020, calling it “crazy stuff.”
McCarthy will step away from his role as Irish senior manager following Euro 2020 regardless of how well he performs in the job with new U21s boss Stephen Kenny taking over in August of that year.
Speaking to RTE sport, Duff was full of praise for both managers, outlining that McCarthy was certainly the right man but the decision to announce his successor before he’d even begun his tenure was “a bit mad.”
“Mick is the outstanding candidate for me. Stephen Kenny has done an amazing job with Dundalk but to bring stability back to the whole organisation, Mick is your man.
“He’s a man you’ll follow. A proper personality, a football man.
“Mick’s successor being announced already is unheard of in football. I find it strange, a bit mad. John (Delaney) says this is the new pathway, the new vision, hopefully, it is a masterstroke but we’ll see.”
Duff also brought up a scenario where the FAI’s hands may be tied if McCarthy exceeds expectations and brings Ireland to the latter stages of the European Championships in two years time.
“There are so many what-ifs. What if Mick does amazingly well, gets us to the Euros, to the quarters, semis or final? (Then) He has to stay on.
“I’d like to know what’s in the small print. I can see Mick doing well and for him to walk away after two great years… it’s crazy stuff.
“On the flipside, Stephen Kenny will be working in the organisation for two years.
“God forbid, I’m sure it won’t happen, but let’s say the FAI don’t like the way he works and he’s not up for the job in two years’ time. What happens then?”
The former Chelsea winger was given his first cap by McCarthy in 1998 and feels that he will be the right man to turn around the fortunes of what’s been a struggling Irish side under Martin O’Neill in the last year or so.
“I think we’ll be a lot more aggressive in our play. I don’t think he’ll play with two strikers, like he used to, but he’ll get us up the pitch.
“My abiding memory of the past couple of years is just us camped around our own box.
“He likes crosses. He wants balls in the box and people attacking it so I think we’ll score an awful lot more goals than we have done recently.”